Northern Lights Research Center to be Enlarged

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Northern Lights Research Center to be Enlarged

By Zoë Robert
Northern lights at Þingvellir National Park

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Chinese government will pay ISK 300 million (USD 2.6 million, EUR 1.9 million) to extend the northern lights research station in Reykjadalur, Northeast Iceland, which the government-run Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC) helped set up. The 600-square-meter building, which will open in 2016, will include a visitor’s center.

As reported, research at the center will be carried out in conjunction with Icelandic research and academic institutions with PRIC sponsoring the project’s operations through an Icelandic non-profit organization. Icelandic scientists will be able to access all data from the research station, ruv.is reports. 

As Icelandic law forbids the purchase or lease of land by foreigners from outside the EEA, the Employment Development Society of Eyjafjörður and Þingeyjar and the Arctic Portal, based in Akureyri, North Iceland, purchased the land for the project.

The station will feature a specially-equipped camera that takes photographs of the northern lights and geomagnetism measurements. According to the scientists, the northern lights indicate the interplay with the solar winds and the earth’s magnetic field, meaning that the research findings can be used to predict space weather.

Þorsteinn Gunnarsson, division manager at Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS), said that extending the center will mean further opportunities for research.

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